Monday, 23 August 2010

Return to form desperately needed

In this glorious August that we're having its quite likely that Surrey's game with Leicestershire which runs from tomorrow until Friday will be heavily rain-curtailed, but in between the rain showers it is vital for Surrey to claw back some kind of Championship form.

Hope of a promotion push is of course long dead and Adams is persisting with his policy of blooding the younger players.  The squad consists of 10 players aged 24 or younger and the lot of them are eligible for England:

Tom Lancefield
Arun Harinath
Mark Ramprakash
Steven Davies
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Jason Roy
Matt Spriegel
Gareth Batty
Chris Tremlett
Jade Dernbach
Stuart Meaker

12th men: Steven Cheetham, Gary Wilson.

The decision not to select Stewart Walters but to keep faith with Spriegel is baffling, especially given Walters' 78* in the CB40 yesterday.  The pair of them have scored absolutely zilch in the last three Championship games and I suppose Spriegel's bowling probably squeezes him in, but it doesn't bode well for Walters' future at the club.  He's no world beater but if the last game taught us anything its that the middle order needs a bit of stodge, there's a lot of pressure on Roy or Wilson to deliver runs amongst a batting order short of confidence.

I am also slightly surprised that Harinath has survived, his runs have really dried up since early season, though to his credit his average is at or around that of Rory Hamilton-Brown.  I think the lack of alternatives has saved him in this instance, though personally I might've given Seren Waters a go up top.  I want Harinath to succeed, at the end of last season he looked to have all the essentials, but of late he hasn't quite delivered.  He may well be moved down the order but to have Roy or Wilson opening with Lancefield wouldn't be a good idea in my view.

The other Stuart, Meaker, might be in danger too after Cheetham's 4-32 yesterday though my personal preference is always to go for the Surrey lad over the loan signing as I've said before.

Above all else the players need to make sure they approach this in the right mindset.  The reckless approach to the 'run chase' against Worcestershire of Davies and Hamilton-Brown was so disappointing.  They both have talent to burn - now they need to start applying it, Hamilton-Brown as captain in particular.

Leicestershire are a dangerous side with plenty of talented players not least of which is James Taylor - possibly the most promising young batsman in the country who is approaching 1,000 runs for the season.  The rest of their batsmen have not scored heavily this season but they've still got plenty about them.  In the bowling department they have Buck and the irrepresible Hoggard, who combined with Claude Henderson and Jigar Naik make for a very handy attack.  Leicestershire might be in the midst of some boardroom shenanigans but they still harbour promotion hopes and are a tough prospect.

We are short of form, short of confidence but we've got bags of talent.  Leicestershire have the edge on the bowling front, we have the edge on the batting front, so it should make for a very interesting few days (that will probably be ruined by the August downpours!).


Chappers said...

Morning - interesting thoughts.

I have to admit a middle order of:
Steven Davies
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Jason Roy
Matt Spriegel

means an all or nothing approach - if the pitch is flat then we will get lots of runs very quickly. Otherwise who is going to halt the collapse by grafting out a 63 of 130 balls?
I have to agree with you, some of the selections this year have been barking, but I think we have to give the opening partnership some time to bed in. Leicester are in a bit of a mess off the pitch at the moment, but in James Taylor, I agree, they have a very talented player - they also have some chap called Hoggard, who is probably a bit useful and may have a bit much experience for our middle order.
Argg. I am not overly optimistic about this game.
Sorry for my pessimism/negativity. Not my usual way...

GreenJJ said...

Morning Chappers

I think a lack of positivity is forgivable for Surrey fans! Leics off the pitch troubles will hopefully not get in the way, but the forecast for tomorrow is not good so that might scupper any chance of a result. That middle order is a bit flaky, an interesting thought I heard was that Roy or Wilson might have been drafted in to see how they go as an opener, with Harinath moving to the middle order. I think Harinath might well be better suited to the middle order but an opening pair of Lancefield and Wilson/Roy is a bit too gung-ho for my liking! There's no solution at the moment, we have a bunch of inexperienced youngsters, with whom it might come off in spectacular style and a total of 400+ isn't out of the question, but equally a total of 130 is possible. Fingers crossed for a decent, fighting performance anyway!